Showing posts from June, 2008

Miramar Civic DVD rentals - new releases $3.99/day

Nice bit of news from Wellingtonista - Miramar Civic Video has new releases at $3.99/day. I suspect they're struggling over in the new "shopping mall" ... but hey, I'll be poppingover for those sort of prices.

100 Oldest Companies - Our Connection With Out Past

I love this type of trivia, 100 Oldest Companies ... just tickles me. Aaaand, I love this particular piece of throw-away malarkey because, well, it's not really that throw-away. The linkage back to our past (especially if you're from the UK) blows me away. For instance the oldest is Brooke's Mill that has been going since 1541 - granted the business is no longer manufacturing cloth as it did until 1987 which must've been a sad year for 'em. But, the company is still around. Some context - in 1541 : Second ever Dalai Lalam died Henry VIII is ruling over England The Amazon River is discovered by non-locals (Francisco de Orellana) The sitting Pope had kids El Greco is born Various dioceses are established in England because of Henry VIII's Reformation The Kingdom of Chile comes into being The first Bible in Swedish is printed Jacques Cartier creates the first French settlement in the "New World" near modern-day Quebec Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez

UK READERS: Virgin Wines + Vouchers FREE TO YOU

I've got, through purely British means, two vouchers of £40 each which have to be used by 31-July-2008. And they are yours - 1st come, first served. I also have no idea what it means to use them, how good a deal they represent or if they are merely 2 out of 4 billion pushed through British letterboxes on a regular basis. Instructions Go to or Call (UK) 0870-444 5455 Enter your voucher code ( AMAZWB40 ) and password ( WINEBANK ) And you have just saved £40 You can now choose your own case, OR make your £40 go further with this month's got deal ... Enjoy - the small print is: If you're already a customer, you can't use it. You can only use it once - and not with any other offer. It's valid only if you you at least a 12 bottle case costing £79.99 or more (excl. delivery) unless we say otherwise. You can't exchange it for money (sorry!) but using it gives you an account at our WineBank. For details and benefits visit: www.virginwines.c

Anyone recommend a cleaner?

If you know of anyone wanting a cleaning gig here in Miramar: probably every two weeks, 3-4 hours a visit, a stack of things to do with flexibility to do one or two different things each time. Anyone recommend - (or leave a comment if you want to share the love)

1 more classic piece of graffiti

Following on from an earlier two this made me laugh out loud Link: Worlds Best Graffiti

Mr Benn ... Ivor the Engine ... Bagpuss

My awesome brother has just sent a DVD "all the episodes ever" for each: Mr Benn - "and then the shop keeper appeared" Ivor the Engine - "[parp parp] [fsssshtkoom fsshtkoom fshtkoom ...]" Bagpuss - "And when Bagpuss awakes, all his friends awake [yaaaawwwwn]" for Jack's 5th birthday. I'm sure he knew that I would clap my hands together like Georgie and have a grin as wide as Luke's when I found out ... just brilliant. For those from that had a 1970 British childhood let these intros (and in Ivor's case a whole episode) take you back! Ivor the Engine Bagpuss Mr Benn [Updated] Corrected video labels, thanks Ross

Free: I have 2 tickets to the Small Bus Expo (today, tmrw)

I have 2 free tickets (save $20 each) to the Small Bus Expo (today until 8pm, tomorrow 9am-4pm) TSB Arena If you want txt me 021-169 1359 - 1st come, 1st served

Google Reader tip: Share WITH a note

IF ... you're using Google Reader as your online/web-based RSS reader (and let's face it, who isn't) AND ... you're in the habit of clicking the wee "Share" button when you want to let the world partake of a particularly tasty article you've just read OR ... you'd like to share a page you're reading elsewhere THEN ... click the "Share with note" and tell the world why you think it's worth sharing click the 'Note in Reader" bookmarklet (more details at Google Reader blog ) ELSE ... don't share at all because if you can't explain why then you're probably just adding to the noise. ENDIF; See more about "Share with Note" AND how Google Reader is gaining Twitter-like features at Google adds all the right stuff to sharing items . For more details on the "Share any page with Google Reader bookmarklet" see SheGeeks And that post took me right back to me BASIC days :-)

Battle of the Album Covers

Nice, thanks Laughing Squid When album covers attack by mrdantefontana

Anika Moa - Bar Bodega, Friday August 1st @ 8pm

Get yourself in the mood for Anika at Bar Bodega in a few weeks with My Old Man from the brilliant CD In Swings The Tide Also see: Totally and utterly favourite song of the moment - Anika Moa My secret girlfriend

Tell me if you like ...

... biting into an apple or a carrot with your mouthy shut and listening to the sound it makes and wondering if anyone else can hear it too Show all | explain this

Ubuntu - not for everyone

Che has given Ubuntu a go and not had a nice experience . As one of the commenters said, get it pre-installed and you'll be fine(er) I can't remember ever having to install an operating system myself (except Ubuntu, of course) and certainly not in a Microsoft Windows environment - has anyone recently, experience? But, Che's not happy and is moving on to a Mac (I suspect that's his first love anyway ;-). Lessons learnt from Che's experience: Computer are tricky beasts ... why? Ubuntu is close but not close enough for your Mum and Dad to install When did installing an operating system have to be easy enough for your Mum and Dad to install? Move to cloud computing (Interwebs) and forget about your operating system Paying $1,500+ for an "Apple Experience" doesn't cut it for me

British People Export More Guns, Bombs and Other Nasties Than Anyone Else

Top work British people, you must be very proud of yourselves. Source : QI: The Arms of Britain

Farewell Wellingtonista

It's been a blast and even though I've left before - tough to be relevant to Wellingtonians when in Wales - I am saying farewell to being a blogger at the Wellingtonista for good this time. Why? Too much on and my life has taken me in directions that means I just don't have the energy, time or inclination to blog there any more. They will, I am 100% confident, grow and grow and grow ... watch that space:

The Twat-O-Tron

Go to Read the twat being quoted (hint: it looks like the first 'blog comment') Click the [New] button Go to step 2

Who watches New Zealand free-to-air TV, not me (much)

It has to be said that the Riversdales only get TV1-3, not even Prime or Maori TV so we are limited to the max. However, I'm not sure we'd watch much more "broadcast TV" anyway because ... it's crap. So how do we get our televisual fix - this way: DVDs YouTube Google Video Joost Other web based TV thingies ( for instance) I would say it's 80% DVDs, 15% YouTube and then a smattering of the rest. I think what's holding us back shifting more online is not bandwidth speed/capping or video quality (which is what most people assume) but the fact we have our only computer in the study and it can get pretty lonely down here sometimes. TV is actually a social event. So when we get out WiFi laptops we'll be sorted. Of course we could just for something from Apple or Sony and dump 'broadcast TV' completely for the full YouTube experience . But then again, it's not JUST about YouTube ...

Sweden Loses Right To Free Speech

Just had an email from my Dad telling me that my brother and sister-in-law, who live in Stockholm, are a little gutted by the Swedish government passing (143 to 138) a new law that allows the military National Defence Radio Establishment to monitor Swedes' internet usage as well as content from e-mails, phone calls and text messages. Crickey ... that's major. As TVNZ say : Currently, Swedish police can apply for permission to monitor phone and Internet traffic in the investigation of serious crimes. The new bill will allow the authorities to eavesdrop on conversations and communications by default . In essence assume you are being listened to by the government's military wing! More coverage via Google News ... although if you're in Sweden think before you click.

8 Million+ People Can Now Use These Firefox 3 Power Tips

Great Lifehacker list of Firefox3 tips for all you new users, including: Shrink the Super-sized Back Button Delete Mistyped URL Suggestions and Other Auto-complete Entries Ditch Obsolete Extensions ( details ... ) Set Gmail as Your Default Email client—Without an Add-on

Tell me if you like ...

... spending ages in the shower Show all | explain this

How To Run Ubuntu Commands

Ubuntu is awesome. Ubuntu is free. Ubuntu is not Microsoft Windows. Ubuntu is for most people, a change. With Ubuntu you are not alone. Linux and the flavour I use, Ubuntu, has a huuuge presence on the Web and with that I quickly gained a sense of comfortability that any issue I experienced ( no sound for instance) had been experienced and solved by someone else or, in the case of new releases, about to be solved. "Google your problem and read how to solve it" - that's my advice to all newbies to Ubuntu. BUT. You will probably be asked to "run a command" somewhere within your solution. Huh, how do I "run a command"? Before answering that, some basics (for users, not developer or uber-geeks). Ubuntu has two major parts to it: The GUI/Desktop - the "Windows" bit you see when you turn on the machine/log-in The Linux operating system - the clever stuff under the hood making your computer work Unlike Microsoft Windows you can choose what GUI/Desk

Top 10 crazy ways of finding this blog

Been a while since I listed the weird and wonderful ways that people have stumbled across this blog. Before the crazies here's the most common : "Weta Cave" - already, must be very popular "Ubuntu" - quite proud of this, especially as people seem to be finding answers to queries "iPhone" - not sure why as I've not posted the recent news knowing it would be fully covered elsewhere "Rugby" - mostly around the apparent apathy here in NZ "Matarkiki" - again, quite cool that people end up here as I think my Matariki posts are chock full of info "Cat peeing" - obviously a big issue "Fawlty Towers quotes" - a perennial search that has people landing on My favourite Fawlty Towers quotes The number one search item is ... "miramar mike" - and I can virtually guarantee that the majority is my Dad (true Dad?) On to the crazies. I wish every one of you that found the blog through one of these terms the finest a

Tell me if you like ...

... playing Monopoly and buying up Park Lane and Mayfair and building four houses and a hotel on them Show all | explain this

Age banding of books - bad, stop it!

I'm with Philip Pullman who is quite against books being age banded (i.e., this book is for 5-10 year-olds this book is for 11+ etc). Why should any book be "for" a particular age range? As you've seen on this blog I am tickled pink by some very "young" books as well as some seriously heavy ones . If they work for me, they work for me. If people are worried about young 'uns hitting subjects that are a little scary then, like TV, that's about ensuring people have the right info to decide upon - this book contains sweary Mary words, or this book has more shagging than a 70's rock concert, or this book will scare the beejessus out of most, don't say we didn't warn you. The subject matter and how it's dealt is the defining, not some arbitary decision by a publisher. As an exercise to tak your mind off the tedium of project management, that report you have to finish or the endless typing into Excel, pop these into categories: Catergo

Rugby commentary the way you'd do it ... but funny

We all think we'd make a better job doing our own rugby commentary but truth be told we'd be boring as buggery and not get any salient info across. Having said that, the current crop of regular TV pundits are pretty friggin' ordinary eh ... So dump the TV volume and crank up the Alternative Rugby Commentary (ARC) at and listen to Jedi tell it like it really is. I've listened for a few years now and it seems to me that he's upped the ante a little this year and it's totally professional commentary but still makes me laugh out loud. How to listen to this coming weekends second All Black test against England in Christchurch - either Turn on your TV / Internet for your rugby viewing pleasure this Saturday evening Turn down the volume Visit Click on 'Listen live' Get yourself a cold one Listen ... ... or ... Go to TradeMe Buy an Alternative Rugby Commentary season pass Get along to the Loaded Hog in Well

All Blacks v England - live on the Internet

Live pictures: Alternative Rugby Commentary with Jedi at Loaded Hog: I love the Internet!

3 things wrong with you (as a Kiwi/New Zealander)

Miki details three facets of being a Kiwi that he thinks are to "our" detriment: At heart, we are not engaging people We have low degrees of financial literacy in the part of the market we need it most We settle - it's good enough I strongly disagree with number 1 and I would merely point out the difference of walking into a shop here in New Zealand and one in London. Hmm, financial literacy hits home ... but aren't I Welsh ... Maybe he has a point there, what do you think? Point 3, definitely. People are seem to be quite willing to accept crap service (say). But maybe that's about picking the fights and not sweating the small stuff. Interesting points Miki makes, leave a comment here or there after reading his full post .

J K Rowling Discusses Failure

Nat has linked to a great video to inspire from J K Rowling (yes, her of the boy wizard books) - give it a whirl from her link: J K Rowling ... delivers a very inspiring speech on failure and imagination. Whether or not you bought into the Harry Potter craze (which I didn’t), you can’t help but sit in awe of this wonderful woman and her experiences. It’s a must watch.

Firefox 3 - release date is next Tuesday, 17th June

Get ready to make be a part of a World Record by downloading Firefox 3 on that date, June 17th!

Weta Cave goes all "Narnia" here in Miramar

A visit to The Children's Bookshop in Kilbirnie* with Meg this arvo had me staring at (and snapping on my mobile) a poster advertising Weta Cave's first event - Narnia Day , Sunday 15th June, 1pm-4pm The details**: To celebrate the New Zealand release of Disney’s and Walden Media’s “The Chronicles Of Narnia: Prince Caspian”, Weta has pulled together an exciting afternoon for curious visitors and Narnia fans at the Weta Cave. The programme is FREE and Weta invites everybody to come along and have a great time with Weta artists and craftsmen. This is a unique opportunity to see what goes into the crafting of the art of Weta and we encourage everyone to drop by and take part in what is set to be an incredible afternoon! The event is also hot on the heels of the release of “The Crafting Of Narnia” (book) in New Zealand and there will be an opportunity to get purchased copies signed on the day. Programme: 1pm - 2pm Book Signing of The Crafting Of Narnia with Richard Taylor and We

Tell me if you like ...

... smelling your favourite cake baking away in the oven Show all | explain this

Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre

Heh, what you can find when you type in "make me laugh" in YouTube* There's oddles of Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre on YouTube , this is the one I smiled at* which seems based heavily on the classic Abbot & Costello's "Who's on first?" sketch * heavy night the night before - Liz had finally risen and taken Meg to the supermarket, Jack was ensconced in front of Monsters Inc. and I just wanted to see some good comedy from the BBC and fall asleep.

State Services Commission and Datacom to the rescue of all parents-to-be

[Updated] Updated Well, that's what the one letter typo in the Geekzone article implies: A prototype of the second service, the Identity Verification Service (IV F ) will ...

Google "Only Good" News


Music in Miramar @ Eva Dixons every Thursday

Eva Dixons lives on in Miramar ( 133 Darlington Road - Google Map | Zoomin Map ) - just up the road road from the newly visited Weta Cave which, as Richard Taylor said to me, "It's a bit different for Miramar eh?" ... such a shameless name dropper I am. Back to Eva Dixons ... Not only is it a great place to eat ( all day menu ), drink and be merry but if you happen to pop in on any Thursday eve ( menu ) this month you'll be treated to free live music. 12th: Mojo Mama Piano based boogie and blues with enough sass to light your fire. 19th: Sean & Amanda O'Connor Inspirational folk/pop songwriters & harmonisers, singing their inner and outer journeys with guitar, flute, heart and soul! 26th: Eva Prowse Trio Eva Prowse (vocals, violin, mandolin), Chris Prowse (guitar, bva), Dave Currie (bass, ukulele, bva) playing a variety of alt-country music. Suitable for old-timers and new-timers alike.

Wellington based uber-Web devs wanted to prove we can rule the world (or sell it for the price of a small island)

An idea has been floated (by another), it's been thought through (by a bunch of us) and now needs a little something created to see if it'll fly. Anyone out there keen to help out with some database, online coding and even a wee bit of design (think badge not web site)? What's in it for you - you could be a part of what Richard McManus defined to one of the team as, "The holy grail of the Web". We're thinking big in every sense. But need to prove some basics first. We need your geekness to assist. Anyone - drop me a line

Seek (job site) advertises for "Member of Parliament"

What more can I say - there's a job going on Seek as a Member of Parliament ( $150,000 - $200,000+ ) I bet they get a LOT of applications that are just a we bit flaky. And if you want to be one here's the job advertisement, apply here ... Job 1 of 1 - Listed 09 Jun 2008 - Work Type: Full Time Sub-Classification: Government - Area: Wellington Central Advertiser: icount - Salary: $150,000 - $200,000+ Member of Parliament The icount political party ( ) wishes to recruit six Members of Parliament (MPs) for the next three year term of Parliament. The icount party has been formed to enable members to have a continual say in the direction of New Zealand by voting and commenting on every political decision put before Parliament. The icount MPs (thats you) are responsible for enacting these political decisions in Parliament. Candidates must have the following attributes: Desire, passion and ability to help New Zealand move ahead A sound understanding of how the

Manhole covers ... whatever next

It's a photographic obsession for at least 687 people over at the 'manhole cover' Flickr group . I discovered this as I am the admin for the 'Monmouth (Wales, UK)' group and have a feed of anyone putting up pictures tagged 'monmouth'. Clive1945 popped a few photos of manhole covers in Monmouth ... isn't the interweb a wonderfully strange beastie :-) Oh, and 'monmouth' tagged groups tend to be: Monmouth in Wales, UK Monmouth County in New Jersey Monmouth coffee in London Check out all the 'monmouth' clusters ...

Read at Work - awesome campaign from the Book Council NZ

Reading books is good! Reading books at work is good if you can prove it's relevant! The NZ Book Council have a cracking campaign - ReadAtWork . And boy did it surprise me when my machine took a jump back in time and went all Windows an me :-) Bloody clever though Thanks Ben for the initial link

Flickr meme mosaic

Cracking idea from Martha . My photos from: 1. July 25, 2006: Mike Wazowski , 2. Curry Fiesta , 3. 6th form Monmouth Comprehensive 1984 , 4. Go Green!!! , 5. HELEN MIRREN , 6. Beer O'Clock , 7. India-Colva Beach Goa_11_16,17_05_05 , 8. Club 33 Dessert Tray , 9. antique book store and owner , 10. Freedom of expression (a tribute to Bruce Nauman) , 11. Challenge! , 12. Secretive Mike Here's how it works: a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search. b. Using only the first page, pick an image. c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker ). There's a Flickr group you can add it to, as well. The Questions: 1. What is your first name? 2. What is your favorite food? 3. What high school did you go to? 4. What is your favorite color? 5. Who is your celebrity crush? 6. Favorite drink? 7. Dream vacation? 8. Favorite dessert? 9. What you want to be when you grow up? 10. What do you love most in life? 11. One Word to describe y

TelstraClear not wanting to help the NZ Internet public

It's all about peering Internet traffic ... huh? Try this Wikipedia explanation : Peering is voluntary interconnection of administratively separate Internet networks for the purpose of exchanging traffic between the customers of each network. The pure definition of peering is settlement-free or "sender keeps all," meaning that neither party pays the other for the exchanged traffic, instead, each derives revenue from its own customers. Back in the good old days (before 2004) both Telecom and TelstraClear peered quite happily. This meant your request for a local NZ site didn't have to shoot off on a pointless round trip to the USA but was handed on in the fine comunity spirit the Internet was built upon. Telecom are trialling a peering environmen t again (top marks!) but TelstraClear don't see any benefit to their bottom line - read the full Computerworld article and notice how TelstraClear talk about what's (not) in it for them but never once refer to the u

Snopes cartoon

Ha ha ha ha - anybody that has had a terse, "This is not true, I checked on Snopes" reply from me will take great pleasure in this ... :-) Original cartoon at

At work recently ...

Over on the work blog you can find out when I'm next on stage (clothes are no longer a given), how to love the 'semantic web' and let it love you and become world famous in New Zealand for speaking plain English . I'll also explain why I think protecting your IP sucks , why the Fairydown website sucks and why this year's Open Source Awards will not suck in anyway, shape or form. I also want to know what you think to, Wellington Barcamps - do we need an "overseer"? I leave you with the diagram from Collaboration the wiki way or the email way - in diagram form - you tell me this doesn't make you go, "Uhuh, that's my life!"

Happy Matariki 2008

[Updated] An excellent beginner’s guide to finding Matariki from Signposts Matariki, the Māori New Year, is upon us and, as usual , Te Papa (Museum of New Zealand here in Wellington) has a jam packed 4 weeks of fun and frolicks - not sure if the dude to the right will be there showing off his muscles, but you never know! My selected highlights ... Week 1 (Fri 6th - 8th) Matariki Star Lab Sessions Week 2 (Mon 11th - 15th) StoryPlace: Matariki: Dawn Stars | Ngā Tohu o te Tau Hou Māori Matariki Hangi Cuisine Cook-Off HORIZON 08: RiZing of Kiwi Cultures Week 3 (Tue 17th - 22nd ) Homefire Burning – Moving On Up Te Coasties Week 4 (Mon 23rd - 1st July) Fashion Extravaganza Kaumātua Kapa Haka A little more information for the uninitiated from : Based on early traditions, Matariki is something special for all New Zealanders to share. It connects us with our unique Maori heritage, nature, creativity and expression. For many Maori, Matariki signals the beginning

Weta Cave (Miramar) opens tomorrow (6th June)

Thanks to Magnus for the heads-up - more at Come and visit the Weta Cave in Miramar, Wellington. Opening to the public on the 6th June 2008 , the Weta Cave will be screening a first-ever behind-the-scenes look at Weta and interviews with Weta co-founders Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger and Jamie Selkirk. We give you exclusive insight into the creativity and imagination that goes into crafting the art of Weta. ... View Larger Map Getting there: Address: Corner of Camperdown Rd and Weka St, Miramar, Wellington Bus: Route 2 towards Miramar from central Wellington. Get off at Camperdown Road Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11am – 6pm / Saturday 10am – 4pm. Closed on Sundays, Mondays and Public Holidays Phone: +64 (0)4 380 9361 Email: Groups: Please call in advance to make bookings.

Obama! Obama! Obama!

Despite my usual cynicism around politics and even more so around the $ driven version in the USofA I have a strange optimism that Obama will deliver a different world for Americans which, despite myself, I know affects the whole world.

Did Gordon Brown (British PM) do something very very right just then?

A quote that floated past my eyes a few seconds ago: Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. - Mark Twain [ source ] And I thought, "Hmm, did Gordon Brown just 'do something right' that then astonished the world with Britain's ratification of the cluster bomb ban?" Yes. I think he did. Top work Mr B! More on Gordon Brown's efforts all over the interweb, start with Google News and see where it takes you ... 'scatter bombs ban britain'

Kids 2: Read the pigeon books

Buy/borrow the pigeon books by Mo Willem and read them to your kids, you will love them! The pictures are so simple yet totally engage with both your wee person and you. The humour is brilliantly over the top and yet so real. And almost as an off shoot your little person will learn something - the best way to learn. As an example, here's a page from Don't Let the Pigeon Say Up Late!. If you have kids that are old enough to talk and reason then you'll totally connect with the pigeon as it tries to sweet talk you into letting it stay up late. And the best thing is that the reader gets to be the parent and has to say, "No!", oh the joy as Jack realises that he's arguing against what he will be saying in about 30 minutes time :-) (click for biggest version) Have a wee click on the books to read more about each one ...

Kids 1: Why-oh-why is The Go Show allowed?

I wasn't going to post this for the longest of times because, well, they are doing their best. But really, The Go Show is not good enough is it ... Okotai Okotai , Jodie Bate and Catherine Sylvester give it their all but I'm struggling to see how they can keep going with the shocking singing of awful songs on such a flat show. I can't believe that this is the height of children entertainment here in New Zealand. Is it? No, take a look at how Suzy Cato engages with the audience in any one of her twenty Suzy's World science DVDs . Check out how (most of) the presenters on What Now ooze enthusiasm and energy. And I'm sure there's loads more. So how does The Go Show survive?

King of Miramar

Hmm, not sure about that particular sobriquet for Peter Jackson. Anyway, in a DomPost article about the Tenths Trust and it's Treaty of Waitangi claim we get to learn that: Some people think PJ wants to own it all One day there might be a hotel on the site of the prison The Tenths Trust and the Enterprise Miramar Peninsula are mates Shelley Bay could have a cable car and restaurants Miramar was boring as all hell before the movie magicians arrived